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The British Parliament are debating same-sex marriage
February 5, 2013 6:25 AM   Subscribe

The Guardian is liveblogging the debate.

The Tories are split on the issue.
posted by Lemurrhea (102 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
You can also watch the debate live on the BBC website.
posted by fight or flight at 6:30 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


"The Labour MP Toby Perkins said he was in favour of the bill. As a Christian, he felt Jesus stood up for the oppressed."
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:31 AM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I liked the quote from Matthew Paris's paywalled Times article:
Opening that 1966 debate [on legalising homosexuality] the late Leo Abse said: “It would be as well, perhaps, to remind the House of other occasions on which legislation which impinges upon human relationships has come before the House. There was ... the Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act, which finally became law in 1907, which ... ended the prohibition on a man marrying the sister of his dead wife . . .

“No one reading the debates ... can but wonder [at reaction in] those days of yesteryear ... the passions that were aroused seem almost droll, and the threats to family stability and the institution of marriage ... now seem historical curiosities.”
posted by ninebelow at 6:31 AM on February 5, 2013 [14 favorites]


...okay wait a second.
And then Nadine Dorries, the Conservative (or semi-detached Conservative - she still has not had the whip restored) MP went next.

She said that the bill would not encourage people in gay relationships to stay faithful.

This bill in no way makes a requirement of faithfulness from same-sex couples. In fact, it does the opposite.

In a heterosexual marriage a couple can divorce for adultery, and adultery is if you have sex with a member of the opposite sex. In a heterosexual marriage a couple vow to forsake all others ... A gay couple have no obligation to make that vow [to faithfulness] because they do not have to forsake all others because they cannot divorce for adultery. There is no requirement of faithfulness. And if there is no requirement of faithfulness, what is a marriage?
So I know that rolling our eyes at bad anti-gay-marriage logic is a fine tradition, but in all seriousness, can anyone make any sense out of this?
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:33 AM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Tomorrowful: in UK law, adultery is classified as a member of a married couple having an affair with a member of the opposite sex. If the married person has an affair with someone of the same sex, it is classified as "unreasonable behavior" and does not legally fit the criteria for adultery.

It's addressed in the Guardian blog:
Myth: Adultery won’t be grounds for divorce among same sex couples.

Fact: Adultery will remain grounds for dissolving a marriage, whether between a same sex or opposite sex couple. However, adultery has a very specific meaning in English law and therefore some forms of sexual infidelity do not currently fit the legal criteria for adultery – including where a party to a heterosexual marriage has a relationship with a member of the same sex. In such cases the marriage can be dissolved on grounds of unreasonable behaviour. This will apply equally to couples in same sex marriages, therefore no inequality is created.
It should also be noted that while this bill is a big step forward in a lot of ways, it doesn't solve every problem faced by gay or trans* couples, outlined in this blog post.
posted by fight or flight at 6:40 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was listening to Radio 1 while working last night and marriage was the topic they were having those one sentence comments from random people about during the news (hopefully that makes some kind of sense--I guess these people phone in with comments). But it was kind of heart-warming to hear a guy who sounded like he'd honestly never stopped to think about marriage rights say "Well, it only makes sense, doesn't it?"
posted by hoyland at 6:40 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


"The Labour MP Toby Perkins said he was in favour of the bill. As a Christian, he felt Jesus stood up for the oppressed."

One of my favorite scenes in all of The Simpsons is from "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?", in which Homer's brother, Herb Powell, whose life was ruined by discovering that Homer was his brother, decides to seek out his family. He gets the right street, but accidentally knocks on the Flanderseses house instead. They open the door, see a filthy hobo on their stoop, and immediately bring him inside, bathe him, feed him, and clothe him in one of Ned's suits.

More of those Christians, please.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:40 AM on February 5, 2013 [14 favorites]


Watch it directly on the Parliament Website:

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=12403&player=flash
posted by homodigitalis at 6:40 AM on February 5, 2013


Comments like that are why I don't actually watch the legislative debated for things like gay marriage. Just because it's said in a legislative forum, doesn't make it any better than the online comments section of a newspaper article.
posted by dry white toast at 6:41 AM on February 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Comments like Dorries's, I hasten to add.
posted by dry white toast at 6:42 AM on February 5, 2013


Illinois (flyover country) is looking to pass same sex marriage on valentines day. If it goes through, I can marry people as an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church.
posted by Sailormom at 6:45 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


We have profound reservations about same sex marriage not just because of the harm it does to a vital heterosexual institution but also because we reject the implication that in order to be equal and respected homosexuals should conform to heterosexual norms and be in effect the same as heterosexuals. In this sense we believe same sex marriage to be homophobic – it demands recognition for gay relationships but at the price of submitting those relationships to heterosexual definition.
Conservative "philosphers" Roger Scruton and Philip Blond looking out there for your best interests, gay people: don't you realise wanting to be equal in law is actually homophobic?
posted by MartinWisse at 6:47 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Watching and listening to the debate on and off. It's interesting that the more marriages and affairs a politician has had (that are in the public domain), the more outspoken that same politician is about "the sanctity of marriage". And spoken with zero irony.
posted by Wordshore at 6:49 AM on February 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


However, adultery has a very specific meaning in English law...

Whether by statute or by the common law, I expect that this would be a fairly simple matter to correct, in conjunction with this Bill.

As for 'no requirement of faithfulness', is that not implied by marriage being a union of two people to the exclusion of all others? And if not, then also, some simple legislative drafting would easily cure that, too.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:50 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also Nadine Dorries is a joke after she ran off to Australia to eat kangaroo testicles for attention on "I'm a celebrity (heh) get me out of here".
posted by Reggie Knoble at 6:56 AM on February 5, 2013


Watching and listening to the debate on and off. It's interesting that the more marriages and affairs a politician has had (that are in the public domain), the more outspoken that same politician is about "the sanctity of marriage". And spoken with zero irony.

I like to deliberately mishear sanctity as cinq titty. It works just about every time. It really is silly sounding to protect the five boobs of marriage.
posted by srboisvert at 6:57 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like to deliberately mishear sanctity as cinq titty. It works just about every time. It really is silly sounding to protect the five boobs of marriage.

Isn't that in the sequel to Total Recall?
posted by Wordshore at 6:58 AM on February 5, 2013


I think you mean Tital Recall.

Also Nadine Dorries is a joke after she ran off to Australia to eat kangaroo testicles for attention on "I'm a celebrity (heh) get me out of here".

Going to take a wild guess that she was a joke before that.
posted by Mezentian at 7:00 AM on February 5, 2013


MartinWisse: That's more or less the same argument advanced from a very left-wing (I suppose) queer perspective, though, that gay/queer people should not try to replicate the dominant model, but should use their difference to push them to developing new models (or to not have a model in that sense at all, but instead constant paying attention and negotiating of the situation).
posted by Casuistry at 7:01 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't decide if I respect Cameron more or less* for allowing a free vote.

*'Less' N/A.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:02 AM on February 5, 2013


It has been a weird week - I'm finding politicians whose legislative agenda I normally abhor saying things I would normally expect to hear from the Guardian's editorial column, and it's marvellous. I still detest many of the other things they're doing to the country, but if we get marriage equality out of this terrible Parliament, it will be some consolation.

Equally, if it takes even a little of the partisan rancour (nothing compared to the States, I know, but it can still make me switch off the radio in disgust fairly regularly) out of things in the future that can only be a good thing. I'll be a lot less willing to dismiss Michael Gove as a standard issue Tory after reading his editorial in the Mail (the Mail!). I may even be willing to examine my internal construct of 'standard issue Tory'.

Won't vote for them unless they, in essence, stop being the Tory party, but anything could happen I guess.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:03 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Progress! And yet...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:06 AM on February 5, 2013


I'll be a lot less willing to dismiss Michael Gove as a standard issue Tory after reading his editorial in the Mail

Interesting Guardian profile by Decca Aitkenhead that examines the idea that despite being a Tory, Gove is "a jolly liberal":
But where is the evidence in his writing of domestic social liberalism? It doesn't exist. Passionately pro marriage, he opposes statutory paternity pay, stem cell research, euthanasia and contraception for school children, but supports privatisation of both the BBC and the NHS, and proposes the marketisation of immigration policy, whereby a British passport could, he suggests, be sold for £10,000.
posted by ninebelow at 7:14 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Although, to be fair, euthanasia for school children is pretty out there.
posted by ninebelow at 7:14 AM on February 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


After driving Alan Turing to suicide - after he helped them remain a free nation - the least they could do in his memory is pass same sex marriage.
posted by phearlez at 7:20 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah yes, Nadine Dorries on fidelity... can't resist this caution Daily Mail and a lot of hypocrisy
posted by quarsan at 7:20 AM on February 5, 2013


So I know that rolling our eyes at bad anti-gay-marriage logic is a fine tradition, but in all seriousness, can anyone make any sense out of this?

I like to think that what's happening here is, the standard arguments like "marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman" or "same-sex marriage threatens the sanctity of traditional marriage" or "it's just morally wrong," they ring false to a majority of people now. Those arguments are terrible, but they are at least honest about the speaker's belief, easy to understand, and make sense within their own unhappy moral universe. They're the core of the opposition.

But public opinion is changing against them so fast that we get to watch the wheels fall off in realtime, while the drivers of the discrimination bus skid along trying to find something to replace them. So you get stuff like "This bill in no way makes a requirement of faithfulness from same-sex couples. In fact, it does the opposite." Stuff that's transparently disingenuous, that the speaker can't possibly believe, that's hard to even understand, and that undercuts the speaker's own values about marriage.

Or see this gem from the LA Times:
Conservative attorneys did not argue that gays or lesbians engaged in "immoral" behavior or lifestyles. Instead they emphasized what they called the "very real threat" to society posed by opposite-sex couples when they are not bound by the strictures of marriage.
It turns out they're arguing that marriage constitutes a bribe to persuade opposite-sex couples who are fooling around out of wedlock to form stable unions before they accidentally get pregnant and their bastard offspring destroy society.

And this is the tradition whose sanctity we are trying to protect?

No -- what's happening here is that they are trying desperately to figure out a way forward, when the heart of their movement is gone.
posted by jhc at 7:20 AM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


ninebelow: "Interesting Guardian profile "

Dear me, he does look like a bottomless git, doesn't he.
posted by notsnot at 7:23 AM on February 5, 2013


Also, in France!
posted by eviemath at 7:24 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


After driving Alan Turing to suicide - after he helped them remain a free nation - the least they could do in his memory is pass same sex marriage.
Well, I dare say few of those around at the time are still around now. Even so, another bill before Parliament is the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill. It most likely won't pass, but it's a token nonetheless.
posted by Jehan at 7:25 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


ninebelow: "

Interesting Guardian profile by Decca Aitkenhead that examines the idea that despite being a Tory, Gove is "a jolly liberal":
But where is the evidence in his writing of domestic social liberalism? It doesn't exist. Passionately pro marriage, he opposes statutory paternity pay, stem cell research, euthanasia and contraception for school children, but supports privatisation of both the BBC and the NHS, and proposes the marketisation of immigration policy, whereby a British passport could, he suggests, be sold for £10,000.
Indeed, such are the dangers of voting single issue. Like I said, pretty much everything else in the Tory agenda makes me want to punch walls, but if the one thing they're going to wave the Reasonable Wand at is this, I can live with thinking very slightly better of the greedy, spiteful, uncaring fools. But only a little.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:29 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that in the U.K. the issue really is about marriage, while in the U.S., it's rarely been about marriage, but about having a legal pretext to chalenge lesser rights and structures.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:30 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's more or less the same argument advanced from a very left-wing (I suppose) queer perspective, though, that gay/queer people should not try to replicate the dominant model, but should use their difference to push them to developing new models (or to not have a model in that sense at all, but instead constant paying attention and negotiating of the situation).

I kind of get that, but the system is rigged for the "dominant model." For a US example, in the coverage of New Mexico's (new) attempt to pass a gay marriage ballot proposal through the state Legislature, one of the state's District Attourneys has this reason to get married to her partner of almost 32 years:
They wouldn't wed just because of the spiritual and emotional aspects, she says, but because right now the couple's children, who will soon be 22 and 25 years old, have more legal rights than they do.
In short, equal rights. Separate but equal hasn't worked out so well in the past.

... a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start ...

posted by filthy light thief at 7:34 AM on February 5, 2013


From the live blog, proof that the Tories don't have a monopoly on being nutters:
Stephen Timms, the Labour MP for East Ham, said he would vote against the bill at third reading. He said that marriage revolved around children.

Lyn Brown, the Labour MP for West Ham, said Timms attended her wedding. Timms must have noticed that she was above child bearing age when she got married. Did that make her marriage invalid? Timms said he was speaking about church teaching hundreds of years ago.
Oh, that's okay then.
posted by ninebelow at 7:42 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow - from the liveblog:
Craig Whittaker, a Conservative, said it would be better for the government to create a new category of marriage called state marriage. That could replace civil partnerships, and it would allow gay people to be married without undermining religious marriage.
I'm fairly sure Craig Whittaker is unaware he is arguing for exactly what is being proposed, namely the extension of civil marriage (a state function) to same sex couples.

Personally I'd prefer both civil marriage and civil partnerships to be available to anyone who wants to enter into one or the other. But it's gobsmacking to me that someone who is speaking against this in Parliament is apparently not even properly aware of what he's arguing for or against.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:55 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cheryl Gillan, the Conservative former Welsh secretary, said that more people would support the bill if they were certain that religious freedoms were protected But she said she was concerned on this point. "With great sadness" she would be voting against the bill, she said.

Well, as long as she's sad about it.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:00 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


We have profound reservations about same sex marriage not just because of the harm it does to a vital heterosexual institution but also because we reject the implication that in order to be equal and respected homosexuals should conform to heterosexual norms and be in effect the same as heterosexuals. In this sense we believe same sex marriage to be homophobic – it demands recognition for gay relationships but at the price of submitting those relationships to heterosexual definition.

The logic there is so baroque as to be darkly hilarious.

"Oh, we can't grant you what you want - you wouldn't really want it - what you have is better, you see. We wouldn't want to demean you by giving you what you want. Who cares what you say it means to you." etc. etc.

What makes this rather strange is that Roger Scruton has, at various times in the past, held academic posts in philosophy. Presumably, if he had received an argument like this in a student essay, he would have had some scathing things to say about it.

But it seems to be an unwritten law that, as soon as you embrace Conservatism and start writing for a mass audience, your intellectual standards go gurgling down the drain (see also the sad and awful warning to children that is Niall Ferguson). I mean, honestly, how pathetically, wretchedly stupid do you have to be to write something like the paragraph at the start of this post and then sit back and think "by golly, that's a convincing argument and no mistake!"? Is this really the sort of drivel that passes for analysis or argument or insight in the modern conservative mind? At least the libertarian economists make a bit of an effort. This lumpen arse-wittery is just not even trying. It's less convincing than Erik von Danniken.

Seriously, is there some kind of rule that says that as long as you say the words "western civilisation" often enough, you are excused from living up to any of its supposed intellectual virtues?
posted by lucien_reeve at 8:07 AM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Stephen Timms, the Labour MP for East Ham, said he would vote against the bill at third reading. He said that marriage revolved around children.

Lyn Brown, the Labour MP for West Ham, said Timms attended her wedding. Timms must have noticed that she was above child bearing age when she got married. Did that make her marriage invalid? Timms said he was speaking about church teaching hundreds of years ago."

Hah.
posted by Hartster at 8:09 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


that gay/queer people should not try to replicate the dominant model, but should use their difference to push them to developing new models

That sometimes struck me as kind of like the kid who isn't allow in the popular club swearing he wouldn't join anyway.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:12 AM on February 5, 2013


It is indeed oddly hilarious to see them attempting to hammer new wheels onto their argument as the old time-served ones break off under the weight of public opinion.

I'll bet quite a few of the comments in this debate come back to haunt MPs caught cheating in a few years.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:14 AM on February 5, 2013


Gerald Howarth MP (voting against) quoted a poll from the Daily Mail. For those of you playing along at home, that's a bingo.
posted by fight or flight at 8:19 AM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile what also doesn't help their cause is the simple fact that the Netherlands has had gay marriage for over a decade now and things didn't really change at all. No collapse of marriage, no Sodom and Gommorrah (well, no more so then before), no being wiped off the earth by an angry god.

And we're not the only ones anymore either.

It's a bit hard to convince people of the eeeeeeeeeeevillss of the gays getting married when the countries most people know from holidays at least, sensible, stolid Northern European countries at that, have all enacted equality in marriage without problems and your country, one that prides itself on its tolerance and openmindedness, erm, hasn't.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:19 AM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


It should also be noted that while this bill is a big step forward in a lot of ways, it doesn't solve every problem faced by gay or trans* couples, outlined in this blog post.

I don't actually see any reason why if you dissolved a marriage to get a GRC and then entered a civil partnership you couldn't then convert the partnership to a marriage, assuming that's how civil partnerships end up being dealt with. But the post doesn't specify why the author thinks that's wouldn't be the case. After all, there's nothing that stops you from marrying the same person twice, afaik.

(It appears they intend to fix the GRC process, as it's one place you can't find-and-replace your way to same-sex marriage. They don't address the issue of people in civil partnerships formed after dissolving a marriage for GRC purposes. On the other hand, I think part of the point of the Gender Recognition Act and the GRC process was that this is not a separate case from civil partnerships more generally.)
posted by hoyland at 8:22 AM on February 5, 2013


Like I said, pretty much everything else in the Tory agenda makes me want to punch walls, but if the one thing they're going to wave the Reasonable Wand at is this, I can live with thinking very slightly better of the greedy, spiteful, uncaring fools. But only a little.

What makes it easier to swallow is that if this passes, it's over their own hard right winged, dildoed double wetsuit Nadine Dorris brigade, who have already been defining themselves against their own party. Anything that helps make the Tory party get back to the days of the good old nineties, more interested in putting the boot into each other than the left, is good news on its own.

The real question is if giving these fsckers what they want on Europe will balance out this "betrayal".
posted by MartinWisse at 8:23 AM on February 5, 2013


Stephen Timms, the Labour MP for East Ham, said he would vote against the bill at third reading. He said that marriage revolved around children.

Stephen Timms has been married since 1986. Does he have children? I can't find any reference to them if he does. I wonder what he thinks about contraception and/or the consummation of marriage.
posted by knapah at 8:24 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile what also doesn't help their cause is the simple fact that the Netherlands has had gay marriage for over a decade now and things didn't really change at all.

You missed the devastating from Ian Paisley earlier that since same-sex marriage was introduced in Spain and Portugal, the number of heterosexual couples marrying has declined. Thank fuck his dad isn't still around, one can only imagine the dizzy heights of insanity he would have reached.

Actually, we don't need to imagine because we have Peter Bone. It is apparently the "saddest day of his career as an MP" and astonishingly he somehow manages to bring the EU referendum into it all.
posted by ninebelow at 8:25 AM on February 5, 2013


Actually, we don't need to imagine because we have Peter Bone. It is apparently the "saddest day of his career as an MP" and astonishingly he somehow manages to bring the EU referendum into it all.
There's actually a belief among some eurosceptics that marriage equality is a "EUSSR/Fifth Reich plot".
posted by Jehan at 8:28 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, I dare say few of those around at the time are still around now. Even so, another bill before Parliament is the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill. It most likely won't pass, but it's a token nonetheless.

Uh... my mother was born before Turing died and I'm a whopping 26 (admittedly, Turing died three months to the day after my mother was born). My grandad is still alive. In other words, Turing's lifetime is very much within living memory. And if you meant the war rather than Turing's lifetime, that's still very much within living memory as well. We're at the point where there aren't that many people who fought in the war still around, but loads of people who were old enough to have clear memories of it are.
posted by hoyland at 8:29 AM on February 5, 2013


"...the old time-served ones break off under the weight of public opinion."

Given the speed at which public opinion is changing on gay marriage, and irrevocably so, I am surprised that more MPs, whatever their opposition to gay marriage, aren't resigned to this inevitability. They may be going along with the wishes of their constituency (or part thereof) as such wishes now exist, but simply reading the trends of support for gay marriage should mean that MPs should want to cast their votes in accordance with public opinion as it will exist at the next election.

If not a sincere view for equality, then at least a yes vote for future self-preservation? But I suppose it's all incredibly localized at that constituency level...
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:30 AM on February 5, 2013


Uh... my mother was born before Turing died and I'm a whopping 26 (admittedly, Turing died three months to the day after my mother was born). My grandad is still alive. In other words, Turing's lifetime is very much within living memory. And if you meant the war rather than Turing's lifetime, that's still very much within living memory as well. We're at the point where there aren't that many people who fought in the war still around, but loads of people who were old enough to have clear memories of it are.
I mean those in government or other services which had something to do with Turing's prosecution and later death. The guys who ran the show back then are mostly meat now.
posted by Jehan at 8:31 AM on February 5, 2013


I mean those in government or other services which had something to do with Turing's prosecution and later death. The guys who ran the show back then are mostly meat now.

Ah. I totally misunderstood you. That's perhaps obvious.
posted by hoyland at 8:33 AM on February 5, 2013


Twenty years from now, we're gonna mention that gay marriage was something that needed to be debated, and we're going to be ashamed of how we used to think.

This is a further step towards equality (The CoE exemptions are embarrassing), but overall I'm a little happier.
posted by zoo at 8:42 AM on February 5, 2013


Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 committee, said that he would be voting against the bill. He was in favour of civil partnerships and lowering the age of consent, he said. Those measures were about protecting gay people from inequality. But this bill will not do that, he said.
...um, what? "Legally barring you from marriage means you're more equal"?

Really looking forward to people looking back and saying "Wow, actual elected politicians said that in public? Wow."
posted by Lexica at 8:44 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


John Glen, a Conservative, said he was opposed. The bill would create "legislative anomalies". But he regretted that he had been called a homophobe. And he said that the language used by some groups to describe supporters of the bill had been appalling.
Aw, poor bairn.
posted by Jehan at 9:02 AM on February 5, 2013


(Wait, apropos of the "adultery" thing, does the UK really still not have no-fault divorce?)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:02 AM on February 5, 2013


Yay, Matthew Paris!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:11 AM on February 5, 2013


Stewart Jackson MP just said that he "makes no apologies for Section 28."

That is, the amendment which classified homosexuality as a "pretended family relationship".
posted by fight or flight at 9:12 AM on February 5, 2013


Let them enter their bigotry into Hansard for history to mock and marvel at.
posted by Drexen at 9:23 AM on February 5, 2013


This debate will be super useful for floating voters in the 2015 election.
posted by brilliantmistake at 9:37 AM on February 5, 2013


From the Guardian liveblog: Here's the Sir Roger Gale reference to incest. (See 2.23pm.)

"There is a way forward. It has been suggested but it has been ignored. I do not subscribe to it myself but I recognise the merit in the argument, and that is this; if the government is serious about this, take it away, abolish the civil partnerships bill, abolish civil marriage, and create a civil union bill that applies to all people, irrespective of their sexuality or their relationships, and that means brother and brothers, sisters and sisters and brothers and sisters as well. That would be a way forward. This is not."


I think the Guardian liveblogger is misinterpreting this and perhaps unfair . I think Sir Roger is probably alluding to the French-style Civil Solidarity Pact ( which I personally think is a brilliant idea but a separate issue from this debate ). Sir Roger may be prejudiced/too old-fashioned but i think he may also be sincerely trying to suggest a middle ground alternative - and explaining it poorly
posted by Bwithh at 9:52 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Top Tory ministers William Hague, George Osborne, Theresa May (an arch right-winger!!) write to the conservative Daily Telegraph supporting the bill

Difficult to imagine a right-wing US conservative writing this : "Marriage has evolved over time. We believe that opening it up to same-sex couples will strengthen, not weaken, the institution. As David Cameron has said, we should support gay marriage not in spite of being Conservatives, but because we are Conservatives." [my bolding]
posted by Bwithh at 9:59 AM on February 5, 2013


David Lammy (MP for Tottenham)'s speech on gay marriage:
...

“Separate but equal” is a fraud.

“Separate but equal” is the language that tried to push Rosa Parks to the back of the bus.

“Separate but equal” is the motif that determined that black and white could not possibly drink from the same water fountain, eat at the same table or use the same toilets.

“Separate but equal” are the words that justified sending black children to different schools from their white peers – schools that would fail them and condemn them to a life of poverty.

It is an excerpt from the phrasebook of the segregationists and the racists.

...
The entire speech.
posted by humph at 10:06 AM on February 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Aaaaaand we now have a bizarre but charming Britcom reference in the official parliamentary record of this landmark debate :
"Stuart Andrew, the Tory MP for Pudsey, said he was supporting the bill.

In my adolescence I began to realise that I was gay. And being gay in a small Welsh village really was like being the only gay in the village. "
posted by Bwithh at 10:09 AM on February 5, 2013


I'm pretty sure the "only gay in the village" reference was a conscious one. But he notes that it was "like" he was the only gay person, but doesn't say that he was -- he acknowledged that there may have been others he didn't know about. It doesn't make up for the feelings of isolation, but reminds people that LGBT are everywhere, even in small Welsh villages.

This has to pass. If there is any justice, this has to pass, though the CofE exemptions are upsetting. (I really did expect better from the CofE). I've been actively avoiding the call-in show they've got after "Any Questions" on radio 1 because the last time I listened it seemed just a forum for the bigots to spew bile.

But they are losing.
posted by jb at 10:18 AM on February 5, 2013


So, having eaten testicles on television, Nadine Dorries is now talking bollocks?
posted by epo at 10:31 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure the "only gay in the village" reference was a conscious one.

I'm sure he's using that deliberately because he's heard of the TV show-influenced catchphrase... particularly because the character is Welsh too... not so sure he's seen the TV show though!
posted by Bwithh at 10:33 AM on February 5, 2013


I really did expect better from the CofE

Their powerbase has shifted to Africa , where severe homophobic attitudes are more common (I know I'm generalizing... Africa is not a country etc...) ; I suspect they're worried about a schism if the CofE didn't get an exemption.
posted by Bwithh at 10:35 AM on February 5, 2013


I couldn't get the BBC livestream to work on my iPad.
here's a link which does http://m.parliamentlive.tv/MeetingDetails/HouseOfCommons
posted by Bwithh at 10:39 AM on February 5, 2013



This reminds me of the Canadian debates. Though the accents make it sound a bit more entertaining.

I think I'm gonna ask my MP to propose a bill where at least one day a week MP speak with some sort of British accent. I'd watch that.
posted by Jalliah at 10:43 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's very heartening to see MPs with real moral convictions, who are prepared to stand up and speak in defence of the sanctity and traditions of the institution of marriage.

MPs like Roger Gale (married, divorced, married, divorced, married), Nadine Dorries (divorced), and those who speak for the eternal truths of this most holy bond of trust, like Bob Blackman (married, 11 year long affair).
posted by reynir at 10:54 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't actually see any reason why if you dissolved a marriage to get a GRC and then entered a civil partnership you couldn't then convert the partnership to a marriage, assuming that's how civil partnerships end up being dealt with. But the post doesn't specify why the author thinks that's wouldn't be the case. After all, there's nothing that stops you from marrying the same person twice, afaik.

So I think it might have dawned on me what the blogger's issue was. I think how long you have been married can have pension implications. Dissolving a marriage for a GRC means restarting the clock. I don't know if there are pension benefits for being in a civil partnership, but converting the civil partnership to a marriage would, at best, date your marriage from the origin of your civil partnership, not from your original marriage. (This is sort of alluded to in that PDF I linked. The proposal is that a marriage license updated post-GRC would retain the original marriage date (or you'd get a choice?).)
posted by hoyland at 10:58 AM on February 5, 2013


(Wait, apropos of the "adultery" thing, does the UK really still not have no-fault divorce?)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:02 AM on February 5 [+] [!]


Scotland has it but not England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There was a legislative push to establish it across the UK that began under John Major's Conservative government in the mi-1990s but this was killed off under Tony Blair's Labour government, I think. (incidentally, New York State didn't have no-fault until 2010)
posted by Bwithh at 11:09 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


In a heterosexual marriage a couple can divorce for adultery, and adultery is if you have sex with a member of the opposite sex. In a heterosexual marriage a couple vow to forsake all others ... A gay couple have no obligation to make that vow [to faithfulness] because they do not have to forsake all others because they cannot divorce for adultery. There is no requirement of faithfulness. And if there is no requirement of faithfulness, what is a marriage?

So I know that rolling our eyes at bad anti-gay-marriage logic is a fine tradition, but in all seriousness, can anyone make any sense out of this?


YEAH, GAYS ARE SLUTS!
It's the same old argument time and time again. My 9th Anniversary is in some months, and over the last nine years I haven't so much as kissed another man, let alone sex one up. But just wait, as soon as us gays get the right to marry, I'm going to get married in a big white public way, have my husband & I place the joining rings on our penis', then sleep with every man I can, until my newly husband gets mad at all the other sex, & divorces me. Then, only then, will I feel like I truly understand what marriage is, and how I didn't deserve it.

GOD, WHY IS HUMANITIES MEMORY SO SHORT! Using her own words, many, many breeders don't deserve marriage. They also forget that not too long ago, a couple couldn't divorce because they "just wanted to". There has been many growths in the ideas of marriage and divorce in the history of humans. I would think that at least Women, of all people, would embrace gay marriage. I do believe that my history teacher taught me of a time when a man married a woman, he OWNED her. We've come a lone way in the last hundred years. Women should realize that equality for gays means a concreting of ideas brought on, and passed down by women. It helps ensure no backslides of rights against women in the future.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 11:10 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


they just announced the vote. 400 ayes in favour of the bill, 175 noes
posted by Bwithh at 11:16 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ayes 400
Noes 175
posted by Jehan at 11:17 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does anybody know what the rest of the bill's timetable looks like?
posted by Jehan at 11:17 AM on February 5, 2013


rush transcript of the debate from Hansard
posted by Bwithh at 11:19 AM on February 5, 2013


a big Tory rebellion - 139 or 140 Tory MPs voted against the bill, 132 for

about 20 Labour rebels voted against
posted by Bwithh at 11:21 AM on February 5, 2013


This is a win-win for progress. Equal marriage is pushed forward, and Cameron looks ever more shaky in his position. What a great day!
posted by Jehan at 11:28 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Netherlands has had gay marriage for over a decade now and things didn't really change at all...no being wiped off the earth by an angry god.

Turns out when the various televangelists said God was punishing the USA with hurricanes and terrorist attacks because of the homosexuals, they didn't understand that God meant "because of your treatment of the homosexuals."
posted by straight at 11:39 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


a big Tory rebellion - 139 or 140 Tory MPs voted against the bill, 132 for

It technically wasn't a rebellion, though, as it was a free vote. Whether this matters politically for Cameron, I don't know.
posted by hoyland at 11:50 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like 30-ish to 50-ish "real" Tory rebels (might be a few Labs/LibDems too) based on the three-line-whip money and timetable votes
posted by Bwithh at 11:57 AM on February 5, 2013


The fact that this even needs a debate is just sad.
posted by prepmonkey at 11:59 AM on February 5, 2013


Question if anyone knows: what with this and the various amendments to the Succession stuff in the pipeline, would Britain be any closer to accepting a same-sex royal consort? Or would that DQ a potential successor?

My hunch is that, like the other amendments, it would practically if not legally require all countries with HM as monarch to agree and do the joint-amendment thing, so is out of the realm of possibility until all relevant countries have SSM. Sadness.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:03 PM on February 5, 2013


The fact that this even needs a debate is just sad.
posted by prepmonkey at 11:59 AM on February 5 [+] [!]


I'm sure there are people on both sides who feel the same way...
posted by Bwithh at 12:04 PM on February 5, 2013


The fact that this even needs a debate is just sad.

Without a debate, it couldn't become law.
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:06 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fact that this even needs a debate is just sad.

I actually disagree. Ignore that a debate, even if a pro forma one, is probably technically necessary. The existence of the legislation means that same sex marriage does not exist. If the legislation passed with no one objecting, that would mean it was hopelessly overdue and we couldn't be arsed to have a crack at progress.
posted by hoyland at 12:08 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


While this is excellent news (fuck you and the horse you rode in on, Stewart Jackson), it's important to note that this vote doesn't mean that the bill is law yet. It will be now sent to committee, before being read again (with another vote), then sent to the House of Lords, who will repeat the process before passing it on to the Queen to be rubber stamped.

Many political commentators are saying that while there is a way to go, the overwhelming majority in this vote (and the weight of several important backers) will make it very difficult for anyone to block it. We're not out of the woods, but the end is in sight.

For anyone interested, you can follow the progress of the bill as it moves forward to becoming law on the Parliament website.
posted by fight or flight at 12:30 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


sent to the House of Lords, who will repeat the process

and (based on my vague understanding of the process - someone correct me if I'm getting this wrong) the Lords can't cancel the bill - they can only vote against to send it back to the Commons for another debate. If the Commons votes for it again, the Lords can't vote against and delay it again.
posted by Bwithh at 12:37 PM on February 5, 2013


Basically, yes - the Lords could in theory reject it, or delay it until the end of this session of parliament, but there was a carry-over motion which means it would then be reintroduced in the next, so it would not stop it, and after two sessions of Parliament the Parliament Act 1949 would allow it to go to Royal Assent without the Lords' approval.

(The Lords is less eccentric than it used to be, as it has fewer hereditary peers, but it does have 26 "Lords spiritual" - members who are there because they are Bishops in the Church of England. Never change, Britain.)

I feel a little sorry for Cameron. I think he wanted this to show how modern and nice the Conservative party was, to try to win over the younger, more liberal voters who are not going to vote Conservative to serve their economic interests, but might be persuaded to vote for the party that legalized gay marriage.

Except that his party has turned out to be the party that voted by a narrow majority against gay marriage. And have been on TV all day saying batshit loopy things about infidelity and threesomes. So he is now in the eyes of the elderly homophobes who make up the Conservative base the man who destroyed the institution marriage, and at the same time younger voters and gay voters may have seen his party magnificently living up to their billing as the "nasty party".
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:03 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


NYT coverage

Prime Minister Cameron aiming for the bill to become law this summer

In modern times, few [British] prime ministers have faced such an extensive rebellion in their own ranks, and the outcome seemed likely to add to the growing ferment among backbench Conservatives about Mr. Cameron’s leadership on a wide range of issues, including Britain’s shrinking defense budget and its increasingly uneasy ties with the European Union.

The divisions over same-sex marriage have been less vehement in Britain than they have been in France, where a similar bill backed by President François Hollande has prompted rival demonstrations in Paris recently that have drawn tens of thousands into the streets. Discussions in the French Parliament have been equally impassioned, where a marathon debate on the issue, now in its second week, has featured angry insults across the floor of the National Assembly and more than 5,300 amendments.

By comparison, the debate in the House of Commons was mostly understated, with a strong undercurrent of realism among lawmakers who oppose gay marriage but sense that the battle is already lost, not only in the crushing parliamentary majority favoring change but in a wide variety of opinion polls that have shown strong public support for the measure put forward by Mr. Cameron.

posted by Bwithh at 1:16 PM on February 5, 2013


Meanwhile in Scotland
posted by Bwithh at 1:18 PM on February 5, 2013


"After driving Alan Turing to suicide - after he helped them remain a free nation - the least they could do in his memory is pass same sex marriage."

Well, I dare say few of those around at the time are still around now.


I more meant "them" as 'the nation' and "they" as in 'the current government.' But as was pointed out above, the powers that be didn't toss Turing in as the last body in the ditch at the Nazi crematoriums, they managed to drag it out almost a decade.

Regardless, I think a government owes some amount of responsibility for its past actions even if everyone is long dead.
posted by phearlez at 1:49 PM on February 5, 2013


I was very glad that Mark Durkan (SDLP) spoke in favour, showing that not every Northern Irish MP is a bigoted evangelical moron. Naomi Long (Alliance) also voted in favour. All other (present) NI MPs voted against. Arseholes.
posted by knapah at 1:54 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


running order squabble fest: "
Except that his party has turned out to be the party that voted by a narrow majority against gay marriage. And have been on TV all day saying batshit loopy things about infidelity and threesomes. So he is now in the eyes of the elderly homophobes who make up the Conservative base the man who destroyed the institution marriage, and at the same time younger voters and gay voters may have seen his party magnificently living up to their billing as the "nasty party".
"

Precisely. I (and I'm choking on these words a little) admire the members of the Tory party who decided this was their hill to stand on, including (gag) Cameron, even if the ulterior motive was blatantly political and meant to rejuvenate his party with a little centrist blood. But in doing so he's basically done a re-run of the European rift that tore the Tories apart in the 90's. And we know how that turned out. The cadaverous hand of the hardcore conservative right will slam back on the change brakes and they'll go back to being the drag on progress and equality they've always been.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:45 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Regardless, I think a government owes some amount of responsibility for its past actions even if everyone is long dead.
Indeed, that's why the Prime Minister apologized on behalf of the UK in 2009 over what the state did to Turing:
So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work I am very proud to say: we're sorry, you deserved so much better.
Everybody who contributed to the persecution and death of Turing is either now dead or irrelevant, and nobody in power now thinks that it was right. The bill for a pardon would essentially be the last act of atoning, as all the other steps have been taken. Alan Turing is a hero in England; we have made good almost as much as we can.
posted by Jehan at 3:13 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Almost. Let's pass the Bill.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:35 PM on February 5, 2013


Guessing that, like other bills, there'll be some obscure odd stuff buried deeply inside it that's been used to sway enough of the Tories to vote this through. Dunno, (thinks) probably something like "Gay marriage is fine, but people are allowed to resume hunting on horses with dogs, so long as they are only hunting gay foxes" or something daft like that.

Would. Not. Surprise. One. Bit.
posted by Wordshore at 4:10 PM on February 5, 2013


Everybody who contributed to the persecution and death of Turing is either now dead or irrelevant, and nobody in power now thinks that it was right. The bill for a pardon would essentially be the last act of atoning, as all the other steps have been taken. Alan Turing is a hero in England; we have made good almost as much as we can.

Turing's dead, obviously, but there are loads of people with convictions for 'gross indecency' (i.e. being gay) who are still living and and whose lives are still being affected by that. Officially, convictions have been "deleted", but, as people predicted in at the time, the police still have access to the information and act on it (and follow-up--as far as I can tell, there's been no denial of what Tatchell reports, only a 'be careful and don't do it' from the ACPO.) That's the real point here.

Where Turing fits into this is kind of complicated. On the one hand, pardoning Turing while not addressing anyone else's conviction is ridiculously problematic. On the other hand, pressing for a pardon for Turing, someone people have heard of, is a way to call attention to the broader issue and that's not a bad thing. The trick is how do you coordinate the people working these two angles--Turing is the 'sexy' angle the media will pick up, so you have to figure out how to make the broader point. Of course, if the Pet Shop Boys can connect Turing to the broader issue in a random interview with the Guardian (I was looking for something by Andrew Hodges re: pardon and found that), it's perhaps not too hard. It's obviously not a good use of Peter Tatchell's time to try and pardon Alan Turing, but it's not a counterproductive hobby for a bunch of mathematicians.
posted by hoyland at 4:23 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I actually don't think this issue will be anywhere near as divisive as the European Union will be for the Conservatives (the Tory party didn't engage in a long-running civil war over the decriminalization of homosexuality previously for instance. indeed, the party made one of the MPs who supported decriminalization their first woman leader and the first female British PM...) . The EU issue was/is just a lot bigger, and a noticeable trait of the same-sex marriage debate in the UK has been that *overall*, it was significantly less intense and vehement a debate than comparable countries. Cameron is losing support from the traditionalists and right-wingers in his Party on a number of fronts though and this issue may be like pouring petrol on those existing fires.
posted by Bwithh at 4:46 PM on February 5, 2013


Turing's dead, obviously, but there are loads of people with convictions for 'gross indecency' (i.e. being gay) who are still living and and whose lives are still being affected by that. Officially, convictions have been "deleted", but, as people predicted in at the time, the police still have access to the information and act on it (and follow-up--as far as I can tell, there's been no denial of what Tatchell reports, only a 'be careful and don't do it' from the ACPO.) That's the real point here.
I understand this, and lobbied my MP in favor of pardoning not only Turing but all who had been convicted under such an offence. But no, it's not the real point with regards to Turing. The real point is whether the UK government has acknowledged its mistakes (which it has), and whether the memory of Turing has been rehabilitated (which it has). Passing equal marriage laws isn't "the least the government can do in his memory", but a rather flip comment based on an outdated notion that the UK is still living with unatoned shame over Turing; it's really not.
posted by Jehan at 5:33 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Passing equal marriage laws isn't "the least the government can do in his memory", but a rather flip comment based on an outdated notion that the UK is still living with unatoned shame over Turing; it's really not.

My point is that the fact those convictions are still lurking is something in need of atonement. It's obviously not fixable via marriage, but it's totally fixable. Apologising to Turing's ghost (or his family, perhaps a little less cynically) is as empty a gesture as pardoning Turing and no one else. It's arguably emptier.

I agree the original comment was dumb. (Not least because had Turing lived to a ripe old age, he'd almost certainly already be dead. He wouldn't have been marrying anyone. There's some small evidence Turing could conceive of marriage equality, which is more than many people of his age would have done, but many, many people worked for this and none of them are Alan Turing.) But I firmly disagree that we (whoever 'we' are here) can say "Gordon Brown apologised to Turing, so that's that dealt with."
posted by hoyland at 8:34 PM on February 5, 2013


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